The 2023 World Series is set. The Arizona Diamondbacks will battle the Texas Rangers in one of the most improbable matchups in modern history. For the first time since 2016, the Fall Classic will not feature the Los Angeles Dodgers or Houston Astros. Wild to think about.
BUT ... one of those teams has a pretty large imprint on the upcoming matchup. The Dodgers have plenty of former players suiting up with a chance to capture their first (or second) championship ring. Some are obvious. Some you might've forgotten about.
Without question, though? ALL of them could've played key roles on the 2023 Dodgers, who found themselves lost when the calendar flipped. At the very least, some could've provided much-needed depth -- another area the Dodgers were lacking in -- as the long season wore on.
There are lessons to be learned from both of these teams for the Dodgers. The D-Backs executed a near-flawless youth movement that only got better as the year progressed. The Rangers went all in during free agency and at the trade deadline to get the right players and supplement their talented roster.
The Dodgers' youth movement? Kind of hit or miss. The Dodgers' endeavors in free agency and via trades? A lot left to be desired. Either way, for LA fans' rooting interest in this year's World Series, these players have direct Dodgers ties.
5 former Dodgers that will have a shot at securing 2023 World Series ring
Another unfortunate ripple effect from the Trevor Bauer signing. Will that haunt the Dodgers forever? Sborz was designated for assignment shortly before the 2021 season to make room for Bauer on the 40-man roster.
Days later, the Rangers came calling, and the right-hander was traded to Texas for minor-league pitcher Jhan Zambrano. There's little information on Zambrano, but he hasn't pitched for the Dodgers since 2022 and just resurfaced in the Venezuelan Winter League (it's unclear, but he might've been injured).
Either way, this was a considerable loss for the Dodgers. Bauer made just 17 starts before his suspension, while Sborz thrived in his first full season with the Rangers. Though he's been pretty bad the last two years, he's emerged as a go-to option for Bruce Bochy in the postseason, hurling 9.2 innings and allowing just one run on two hits and four walks. Not sure how that happened, but this is life now.